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Source[History of Greene and Jersey Counties, Illinois, 1885 - Compiled by The Continental Historical Company, Springfield, Illinois, December 1885 - Pages 257 - 274]
The first settlement in what is now Elsah Township is generally believed to have been made by William Bates, and he was undoubtedly one of the first permament settlers. He came to this county in 1817, and took up his location in what is now Elsah Township. He erected his cabin on section 25, about a quarter of a mile from the Piasa Creek, on land which now belongs to the widow of John Locke. He was a native of South Carolina, and on coming to Illinois stopped, for a time at the block house between Edwardsville and St. Louis, and thence to this county, as aforesaid. He was married when he came here. One of his daughters married James Redden; one married Abel Moore, whose two children were killed by the Indians at the Wood River Massacre; another daughter married Josiah Askew. Bates buried three wives in this county, and he was married five times. Some persons were condoling him with the loss of a wife, and teh necessity of his thereafter living alone. Bates said, "Oh, I could easily get another, if I just had time to go out and hunt one." Bates was a very small man, and was known among the early settlers as being the most diminutive among them. He sold out his place to John Bostwick and others, about 1835, who laid out thereon the town of Randolph, and he moved away to the farm of his son-in-law, Abel Moore, about two miles northeast of Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton, where he afterward died.
A man by the name of Watson effected a settlement in the eastern part of the township about the year of 1818, accompanied by his son, Matthew. None of the families are living at present and it is not known what became of these pioneers.
One of the few settlers of 1818 was Edward Carroll, of whom not a great deal is remembered among the early settlers, as he died within a few years after coming to the county and when the settlement of the county was in a comparatively very crude condition. Descendents of his have, however, been identified with the county and vicinity for a space of time equaling that of a long lifetime, and two of his three children are living at this writing. He was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1780. He was reared iin his native country, and there learned a trade, that of a tanner and currier. Being in Ireland at the time of the rebellion of 1798, he was engaged on the patriot side of that struggle. In 1801 he emigrated to America, landing at the port of New York. From there he went to New Jersey, locating in Sussex County, near New Town, where he worked at his trade. While working there he was married to Mary Wright, a niece of Gen. Greene, of Revolutionary fame. Her father also served on the side of the colonists all through that memorable struggle. After his marriage, Edward started in business for himself, sinking a tan-yard and engaging quite extensively in the maufacture of leather. He continued the business with profit until, his health failing, he determined to sell out and travel. He finally brought up in Stark County, Ohio. This was before the last war with Great Britain, and that part of Ohio was then a howling wilderness, and the Indians who infested that vicinity were then on the rampage. All through the War of 1812 the family lived there, and the trials there undergone by them may readily be understood by a persual of the history of the times.
Having determined to penetrate further into the western wilds, in 1817, Edward left his family in Ohio, and a brother-in-law, James Moffitt, came out to vicinage of the Mississippi River. Gen. Whiteside, who was himself contemplating a trip, offered to go with them on a tour of the country further north. They traveled through Madison and what are now Jersey and Greene Counties, and were as far as the neighborhood of the present city of Springfield, thus getting a pretty good idea of the advantages for settlement offered by different regions on the route. The result of the trip seems to have determined them in favor of what is now Jersey County, for the brothers-in-law retruned, as they had come, on horseback, to Ohio, and began preparations for moving their families out in the spring following. The last traces of winter had hardly vanished in the lap of spring ere Edward, mounting a hardy steed, was once more on his way across the trackless route of alternating prairie and timber, bound for his new Eldorado. The family, again left behind, were to take the river route, and under the guidance of Moffitt, were to find the spot selected, where Edward was to have a cabin ready for occupancy. That spring he labored in the wilderness, and on the arrival of the family, on the 17th day of July, 1818, he was found alone at the new home, with everything ready for occupancy. He had two log houses and a stable of the same material built, aboutthe center of section 23, in what is now Elsah Township. He commenced to improve this place, but thinking the other side of Mill Creek better suited for a place of residence, he went over there and built a two-story hewed log house, moving his family into it in the summer of 1819. That same spring he had sunk a tan-pit on the place, having a number of French workmen from Portage to help in its construction. This work was never pushed to completion according to the plan he had adopted, though considerable leather was tanned there, considering the extreme newness of the country for any enterprise of this kind. Edward died on the 14th day of June, 1823. They took his body across the river and he was interred at Portage, there being now regular place of burial on this side of the Mississippi, in that vicinity. He has served on the first petit jury of Greene County, in 1822, (Jersey and Greene being then one county), and at that term of court was oneof the jury in the nortorious Dixon robbery case, which occurred within the present limits of Jersey County. Mrs. Edward Carroll died near Otterville, on the 24th of Feb. 1852, and is buried in the family graveyard, which lies on the John Dougherty farm. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Carroll were the parents of three children. The eldest, Catherine born in Sussex County, N. J., in 1805, was married in the 1823 to Samuel Lofton, and is now deceased, her only surviving child being Mary Agnes, widow of Ephraim Fredenburg.
Charles Wright Carroll, the second child in order of age, of Edward Carroll, was born in Stark County, Ohio, on the 16th day of Aug. 1815. He came to this county with his parents in 1818, and was reared here. He was married in Alton, July 20, 1963, to Bradley, a native of Maryland, and a daughter of Henry Bradley. He is now living in Otterville, and is one of the few early pioneers still surviving, having lived within her borders longer than Illinois has been a state. Thomas Edward Carroll, the youngest of the three children of Edward Carroll, and the second white child born in what is now Jersey County, was born in what is now Elsah Township, Jersey County, at his parents' home, on Sec. 23, on the 2nd day of February, 1820. He married Bridget Fitzgerald, and the couple, with their children live in Macoupin County, not far from Litchfield, the metorpolis of Montgomery County.
James Moffitt also came out with the Carroll family. He had been out with Edward Carroll, in 1817, on his trip of exploration.
John Carroll and famliy, a brother of Edward, settled on the farm owned by James Seagraves, in 1819. He was a native of Ireland, but came to this township from Ohio. He resided here until his death, which occurred in Jan. 1827, and his wife followed him in Feb. 1844. OUt of a family of ten, all are dead at present except one daughter, Mary, who is now the widow of Thomas Cummings, and resides in Mississippi Township.
Isaac Terry came in 1830, locating in Elsah Township. He was born in Hancock County, Va., in 1800. He died here in 1871. His son James C., now lives in the township, and is one of its best men.
Among the people of Elsah who reflect credit upon that section of the county, for their intelligence, culture and praiseworthy enterprise, are the following gentlemen, whose sketches are given in this connection:
George Piggott, a well known and properous farmer of Elsah Township, is a native of Jersey County, Ill., born near Newbern. He remained with his parents till 21 years of age, then worked out, at farming, in different places until the fall of 1864. At that date, he enlisted in the 144th Reg. of Ill., Inft., becoming a member of Co. H., commanded by Capt. Pitt. He served until July 1865, when he was mustered out at Springfield, Ill., and returned to Jersey County. In 1866, he was married to Hannah M. Snider, who was born April 15, 1840. They have had eight children; James H., born Nov. 11, 1866; Elnora M., born April 26, 1869; Ulysses L., born Feb. 18, 1871; Hetty J., born Nov. 13, 1877; Minnie L., born Sept. 20, 1882; Lelie B. and Lula D., twins, born Aug. 22, 1873; Lelie B., died Sept. 21, 1877, and Lulu D., Oct. 15, 1873; Arvilla E., born May 2, 1875, and died Nov. 21, 1882. Mr. Piggott owns 114 acres of valuable land located on sections 5, 6, 9 and 11, Elsah Township, and has comfortable improvements. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., and of the G. A. R. post, No. 206, of Elsah. He is a republican politically.
Jacob Kesler, a leading farmer of Elsah Township, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sept. 10, 1841. He resided with his parents until 18 years of age. In 1860, he went to St. Charles County, Mo., where he remained for a time, then went to St. Joseph, thence to Kansas City, after which he returned to Cincinnati, where he continued till 1870. During this period he spent three years in the army, enlisting in Co. K, of the 33rd. Reg. of Mo., Vol. He was mustered out at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, in 1865. Jan. 18, 1872, he was married at St. Charles, Mo., to Rebecca Hansel, a daughter of Richard and Lydia (Plumber) Hansel. She was born April 13, 1849. Four children have been born to them: Mark H., born April 3, 1873, and died July 28, 1874; George W., born June 11, 1875, and died March 13, 1877; Clifford, born May 2,, 1878, and one who died at a very early age. Mr. Kesler owns a fine farm, comprising 120 acres. He has a commodious and substantial brick residence, a frame barn and other farm buidings, all in good repair, and is an enterprising and successful farmer. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, also of the K. of P. Mr. and Mrs. Kesler are members of the Presbyterian Church.
William Roades, a farmer of Elsah Township, was born in Virginia, Sept. 17, 1811, and is a son of Henry and Mary (James) Roades. He resided with his parents until 22 years old, when he went to Kentucky, where he was married to Sarah E. Rolston, who died in 1843. By this union there were three children, two of whom died in infancy; one daughter, Elizabeth F., born in 1835, wife of C. D. Howard; she died Sept. 23, 1885. Mr. Roades was married to Elizabeth Swan, April 20 1844, by whom he had six children, three of whom are now living, Martha J., born in 1845, now the wife of James N. Francis; William H., born in 1846, now married to Hannah A. Bougher, and Ann E., born in 1849, now the wife of George W. Smith; George L., born Aug. 30, 1854, died Sept. 7, 1855; Lucy V., born July 24, 1856; died Nov. 27, 1880, and Alice, born Oct. 11, 1858, died in 1865. Mrs. Roades died in Jan., 1876, and Mr. Roades was married the third time to Nettie B. Anderson. He had by this marriage, three children, Charles C., born April 20, 1879; Alfred R., born March 5, 1881 and Rebba R., born Feb. 19, 1883 and died July 22, 1884. Mr. Roades has a finely improved farm, comprising 180 acres. His residence is of brick and is commodious and substantial. This place is located on sections 7 and 8, of Elsah Townshio, is pleasantly situated and highly desirable. Mr. and Mrs. Roades are members of the M. E. Church. He is a supporter of the prohibition party.
John Bradford Crawford, a farmer in Elsah Township, was born in Sumner County, Tenn., on the 3rd of June, in the year of 1835. When he was three years old he went with his parents to Dallas County, Mo., where they lived till 1848, when they went to Farmington, St. Francis County, Mo. In 1851, he and his father went to California and after staying six months there, he came back to the state of Tennessee, where he stayed with his grandmother Crawford about six months. He then went back to Farmington, Mo., for a short time, and from there he went to Crawford County, in the same state. In Oct. of 1853, he moved from there to Jersey County, Ill., locating in Elsah Township. He was married to Lucinda M. Anderson, at Grafton, Ill., on the 11th of May, 1854, by 'Squire John Slaten. She was the daughter of John and Lucinda (Black) Anderson. They have had 12 children, seven of whom are living. These are John L., Syrintha A., Eliza J., Leonora, William W., Elizabeth and Charles H.
Jacob Rister resides upon section 10, Elsah Township, where he owns a farm comprising 80 acres of the southwest quarter. He has 50 acres in cultivation, a good frame house and other comfortable improvements. Mr. Rister was born in Germany, April 13, 1826. In 1859, he emigrated to America, and landed at New Orleans, La., where he remained two months, then went to St. Louis and thence to Morgan County, Ill. From there he returned to St. Louis, remaining in that city three years, engaged in various occupations. He removed from St. Louis to Jersey County, which was since been his home. He was married during the year 1853, to Christine Vernon, who was born Jan. 5, 1827, and is a daughter of Daniel and Frederiea Vernon. Mr. and Mrs. Rister have had seven children, among whom are William, born Nov. 8, 1856; Thomas, born May 12, 1861; Christina, born April 19, 1863; Mary, born Feb. 11, 1865; and Henry, born Dec. 11, 1867. Mr. Rister was in the army a few months, during the year 1865, enlisting in Co. B, of the 154th Ill, Inft. He was mustered out of the service at Camp Butler, Springgfield, Ill. He is now a member of the G.A.R. post, No. 206, of Elsah.
Among the early schools of the Towship was one taught by Hannah Piggott about the year 1845, in a log cabin on section 16. She is at present a resident of the Village of Elsah, and the widow of Joseph Lane.
School District No. 1 has a school house located near the center of section 2. It is a frame building, 20x40 feet in size, and was erected at the cost of about $700. John Busby taught the first term of school in this building. The first of Board of Directors were; Joseph Chappel, George Spangle, and Augustus Bingham. The present directors of the district are: Barnard Kelley, J. Winger, and Alexander Chappee. Abel Stanhope teaches the school at present.
Abel H. Stanhope, son of Abraham and Caroline (Smith) Stanhope, was born in Mercer County, N. J., May 17, 1846. Abraham Stanhope was a native of the same state, born April 22, 1810, and died near Godfrey, Ill., in 1879. His wife, Caroline, was born in Devonshire, Eng., Aug. 9, 1816, and died Jan. 25, 1877. The subject of this sketch resided with his parents until 21 years of age, assisting his father upon the farm which was their home. On leaving home he hired out as a farm hand. In the year 1868, he was employed by C. C. Cumings, of Delhi, Ill., and in the fall of that year, on the day of Gen. Grant's first election to the presidency, went to GOdfrey, Madison County, which was then the residence of his parents, to cast his first vote for a president. On his return from that place to Delhi, he was accidently thrown from the cars and his left arm was so badly crushed that amputaion became necessary in order to save his life. He was taken, at the time of the accident, to the residence of M. V. Hamilton, of Delhi, where he remained eight weeks. He then went to his home in Godfrey and as soon as his health would permit commenced fitting himself for the profession of teaching, which he now follows. He was then barely able to read and write, and entered the grammer department of the model school, connected with the Normal University at Normal, Ill. He remained one year in that department, then entered the Normal, where he was a student two terms. Then, on account of a severe accack of lung fever, he as compelled to abandon his studies for a time. After recovering his health, he engaged in teaching school near Brighton, in Jersey County, where he continued one year, then returned to the Normal University and remained two years, since which he has followed teaching in Jersey and adjoining counties. Mr. Stanhope is thoroughly qualified, both by nature and education, for his responsible work, and as a teacher is popular and successful.
The Locke school house, in district No. 4, was built in 1872, at a cost of $800. It is situated on the southweat quarter of section 11, and is 18x36 feet in size.
The building in district No. 5, also known as White Oak, was erected in 1877, at a cost of $500, which also included the lot of three-quarters of an acre upon which the building stands, the latter being 22x26 feet in size. The first term of school was taught by Albert Barwise, and the first Board of Directors were George Spangle, Chirstian Besterfeldt and George Piggott. Richard Keiley teaches the school at present and the present directors are William Knapp, R. M. Smith and George Piggott.
The school house located on the southeast quarter of section 6, and known as Pleasant Grove, was built in 1875. It is 20x28 feet in size and was completed at a cost of $900. The first teacher was Walter Maxie. The first Board of Directors were T. F. Slaten, Jasper Terry and A. F. Swan. Those serving as present directors are B. F. Slaten, Jasper Terry, and George Spangle. Lizzie Leak is the present teacher. The school has an average attendance of about 28.
The first white child born in what is now Elsah Township, was Thomas Edward Carroll, son of Edward and Mary (Wright) Carroll. This was also the second birth in the county, he being born on 2nd day of Feb., 1820. He is now living in Macoupin County.
The first death was that of Thomas Carroll. He cam up from St. Louis to stop with his brother, Edward. He had been there but a little over a month when his death occurred, in July or August of 1819. His body was taken down to St. Louis in a skiff, and there interred.
William Bates planted the first corn in 1817, and also built the first house.
The first marriage was that of Josiah T. Askew and Miss Hannah Bates, in 1821.
Joseph Bassey was the first Justice of the Peace, who was elected or appointed in 1822.
The first white child born in the Village of Elsah was John B. Reintges. The date of his birth was June 8, 1853.
The land on which is situated the town of Elsah, or Jersey Landing, was orginally entered by James Mason, and occupies the northwest quarter of section 20. It afterwards came into the possession of William H. Allen, of Grafton, who disposed of it to James Semple, formerly United States Senator and Minister to Bogota. Mr. Semple subsequently laid out the town of Jersey Landing, which was surveyed March 7, 1853. He opened a road up Askew Hollow, so called from Josiah T. Askew, who had an extensive sugar camp in the hollow, about half a mile distant from the river. Shortely after the laying out of the town, a landing was established and called Jersey Landing. On the establishment of the postoffice, it was called Elsah, which name is still retains, though the town has popularly been known as Jersey Landing.
The town of Elsah is built mostly in a hollow and extends back in the neighborhod of a mile from the Mississippi River. The houses are mostly substantially built of brick or stone, and are of a better class than is usualy in towns of its size. A magnificent view is offered from the bluffs adjoining, which are about 300 feet in height at this point. Just below the town is Notch Cliff, the palatial residence of Mrs. Ames, a daughter of the late Hon. James Semple, from which a most charming and extensive prospect of romantic scenery can be obtained. Before the construction of railroads, a large business was done at Elsah in the shipment of grain. It is said that for a period extending from 1853 to 1856, it was one of the largest shipping points for grain along the Mississippi. Messrs, Onetto & Brock acted as shippers. During the grain seacon, in the years noted above, the firm never received less than 500 bushels per day, principally corn and from this amount ranged up to 3, 000 bushels. The large trade in grain made the business of selling goods brisk during that period, and it was not uncommon circumstance for the sales of Brock & Onetto to amount to $500 per day, a heavy business in those times.
J. M. Giberson engaged in the general merchandise business in 1870, at which time he erected the present store room, which is 40x70 feet in size. The building is two stories high, the second story being occupied as a hotel by I. N. Piggott, which contains 14 sleeping apartments.
James M. Gibberson, one of the leading merchants of Elsah, is a son of Jacob C. and Mary (Burleigh) Giberson, and one of a family of seven children, six of whom are now living. James M. Giberson was born seven miles south of Jerseyville, Ill., Jan. 30, 1848, and resided with his parents in that vicinity until 1865. At that time he left home to attend Bryant & Stratton's Commercial College, from which institution he graduated Dec. 19, of the same year. The following summer he engaged as bookkeeper for E. Briggs, at East Newbern, near his old home. He continued in Mr. Briggs' employ four months, then engaged in farming in Macoupin County. In July he disposed of his crop and went to trading in horses and land, working occasionally at carpentering. In July, 1868, he engaged in threshing in Macoupin County. The following winter he attended school in St. Louis, and in the spring of 1869 went to Audrain County, Mo., where he followed farming one season, returning in the fall to Jersey County and again engaged in threshing. Soon after he sold his outfit and embarked in mercantile trade, in company with W. W. Gilham, at East Newbern. In March, 1870, he moved his stock of goods to Louisiana, Mo., where the following May he closed out his gods and engaged in farming Audrain County. He returned to Jersey County in July, 1871, having disposed of his interests in Missouri and purchased a portion of the old homestead on Round Prairie, where he resided till March, 1873. At that date he moved to Elsah and engaged in merchandising. In Dec. 1874, he shipped his stock of goods to Aberdeen, Miss., and spent 1875 and part of 1876 in that state. He engaged while there in farming, milling, ginning cotton, merchandising and trading. November 8, 1876, he returned to Elsah, Jersey Co., and, in partnership with his brother, E. C. Giberson, engaged in mercantile trade. In the spring of 1877, another brother, J. J. Giberson, was admitted in the firm. In August, 1878, James M. Giberson purchased his partners' interests and has since that time carried on business alone. He has an extensive trade and is highly prosperous. He is the owner of the store building which he occupies, four dwelling houses, a stock farm located one-half mile from Elsah, and real estate in Kansas. Sept. 4, 1870, Mr. Giberson was married to Irene Collins, a native of Keokuk, Iowa. They have two children: Herbert G. and James A., the former born at East Newbern, April 19, 1872, and the latter at Elsah, March 3 1882. Mr. Giberson is a member of the I. O. O. F.
The general merchandise store of A. H. Stephany was established by his father, M. Stephany, deceased, in 1870, who purchased the building of Richard Fuller, at that time. Mr. Stephany carries a complete stock of general merchandise and groceries and is doing a good business.
A. H. Stephany is a son of Martin Stephany, a native of Germany, who was born June 24, 1824. Martin was the third of a family of five children, and in his youth learned the tailor's trade. He then went to Switzerland, where he remained until 1849. In that year, he immigrated to the ciy of St. Louis, where he arrived May 11th of that year. On the 28th day of the same month, he was married to Elizabeth Sheinman, a native of Switzerland. Five children were born to them, three of whom are now living. They continued to reside in St. Louis until October, 1855, at which time they removed to Elsah, then known as Jersey Landing. Here in 1860, he engaged in mercantile business, which he carried on successfully until the time of his death, July 12, 1879. The subject of this sketch, A. H. Stephany, was bornin St. Louis, Oct. 23, 1852. He came with his parents to Elsah where he has since resdied, being here reared to a mercantile llife. He is unmarried and now resides with his widowed mother. He is successful in business and a prominent and honored citizen. He is a member of the Masonic Lodge of Grafton, the I. O. O. F., and the K. of P. of Elsah. He has held the office of Village Clerk four years and collector two years, and is a consistent Lutheran.
The building now occupied by B. L. Mott is a drug and variety store, was purchased by him in 1862, of James Semple. It is a one story stone affair, 20x30 feet in size, with a basement, and was erected in 1856 by James G. Swan.
Mrs. C. Haas is engaged in the sale of groceries and provisions, in a building which she rents of her daughter Effie. She commenced business in 1862.
The grocery and provision business is also respresented at Elsah by L. H. Vanderslice.
J. O. Richie is the proprietor of the only meat market in the place at present.
John G. Brown operates a wagon and blacksmith shop combined, which he rebuilt in 1884. It was formerly owned and used by D. T. Tonkinson as a blacksmith shop. The business is valued at present at $600.
John G. Borwn, blacksmith of Elsah, is the seventh of a family of nine children. At the age of 17 years he left home and went to work for himself at blacksmithing, having previously served an apprenticeship of three years with Theodore Burnett, in Girard, Macoupin County, Ill. He first opened a shop in Raymond, Montgomery County, Ill., where he continued one year; then went to Ohio and worked one year in a shoeing shop at Middletown, thence to Dayton, Ohio, and about one year later, to Missouri, where he was employed for six months in building trestle work on a railroad. He then went to Louisiana, in the same state, and there followed horse shoeing a few months, after which he returned to Illinois, and worked at his trade in Greeen Co., where he carried on a general repairing establishment. During his residence there he was married to Vina Pennell, Nov. 20, 1877. He removed to Elsah, Jersey County. His is a skilled workman at his trade. In addition to blacksmithing he runs a general repairing establishment for wagons, buggies etc. He is also an experienced veterinary surgeon, and practices that profession in connection with his other business. Mr. and Mrs. Brown have had three children born to them, Nellie, Emma and Amanda.
There are two cooper-shops in the Village of Elsah, owned and operated respectively by X. Schneider and Louis Keller.
Michael Huss is engaged in making boots and shoes, and also the repairing of the same. He also keeps a stock for retail purposes.
McNair Bros. established their present business in the spring of 1884. They have a machine shop for repairing of all kinds, and have also a feed mill in connectiion. The machinery is operated by a ten-horse power engine. Their buildingis 22x30 feet in size with a sing 16x32.
J. B. Reintges, wheelwright, erected his present building and commenced business in 1878. He does all kinds of woodwork, carriage and wagon making and repairing, and is also engaged in the sale of farm machinery. his business structure is 20x34 feet in ground area, and is three stories in height.
John B. Reintges, the first white child born in the Village of Elsah, is the son of Peter Reintges, who came to Elsah Township in 1852. Peter Reintges was born in Dollendorf, Germany, Jan. 13, 1813. He was a stone mason by trade. In 1852, he immigrated to America, and went first to Wisconsin, where he remained a short time, then to Elsah, as before stated. He died here in 1863. His widow, Mrs. Eva M. Reintges, was married in 1864, to Christian A. Loehr, a prominent citizen of Elsah. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Reintges had six children born to them, three of whom are now living, John B., Louisa A. E. and Jacob. Theresa wife of D. J.. Murphy, is deceased, and two died in infancy. John B. Reintges, the subject of this sketch, was reared and educated in his native township, and in his youth, learned the trade in wheelwright, which he still follows. He was married, Nov. 19, 1878, to Annie O'Hare. They have two children, Lizzeta and Eva. Mr. Reintges is a public-spirited citizen. He has held the office of constable four years, has been schol director three years, and is at present serving as assessor of Elsah Township. He is a member of the Catholic Church. He was, in honor of having been the first white child born in Elsah, presented by Hon. James Semple, with a lot 50x75 feet in dimensions, located in the Village of Elsah.
Christian A. Loehr, mentioned above, was born in Hanover, Germany, April 14, 1832, and came to Jersey County in 1857. He was first marreid to Christine Schrier, in September, 1861. She died in January, 1864. Three children were born to them, one of whom is now living, Lizzeta. Mr. Loehr has been engaged in mercantile trade, but is now retired. He has been a member of the village board three terms, and is at present time school director. He is a member of the Lutheran Church and his wife of the Catholic Church.
The tonsorial business is represented by Louis Bapst, who is located here, and established his shop in 1885.
There are two saloons in the village, operated respectively by Cosmos Keller and William H. McDowell.
The first building on the present site of the Riverside Hotel, was a log cabin built by Addison Greene in 1847. It was afterward remodeled and a frame addition erected, and about the year 1853, purchased by Brock and Onetto. In 1866, Cosmos Keller, Sr. purchased the building, adding a frame structure, two stories high. At the time of his death, April 9, 1880, the property passed into the hands of his children, Cosmos and Emma, who still operate it as a hotel.
Cosmos Keller, proprietor of a hotel and salon at Elsah, was born near Elsah, Jersey County, Ill., Sept.27, 1859. He is a son of Cosmos, Sr., and Dorothea Keller. Cosmos Keller, Sr., was born March 11, 1832, in Alsace, then a province in France, and resided in his native countyr until 1856, when he came to America, and located in March, 1857, at Elsah, Jersey County, Ill. In 1856 he was married to Dorothea Behrens, who died Jan. 12, 1877. In July of the same year, he was married to Miss Bertha Feurherd. He has had three children, two of whom are living, Cosmos and Emma, the latter born in 1863. The family are believers in the Roman Catholic Religion. Cosmos Jr., is at present, township collector, which office he has held for five successive years. He has also held the office of village clerk, one term. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. Lodge No. 269, of Elsah, in which he holds the office of P. G. He belongs, also to the K. O. Lodge, No. 196, of Elsah. In the latter organization he has served three terms as secretary.
A hotel is also run by Isaac N. Piggott, which is first-class in all its appointments. Neatness and cleanliness are the mottoes of the house, and a fair patronage is the result. The building is a large, two story frame structure, with a store in the first floor.
Still House and Grist Mill
In the spring of 1856, Knapp, Goodrich & Co., of Jerseyville, built a large stone building,40x200 feet in ground area and three and a half stories high, which they operated as a distillery and a flouring mill. It was equipped with the necessary machinery and had five run of buhrs, the distilling department having a capacity of 1,200 bushels per day. The mill and distillery was in operation until May 5, 1870, when the institution was destroyed by fire. The walls are still standing and at present are the property of the W., St. L. & P. Railroad company. It was erected at a cost of $65,000, and from the date of its completion the town began to improve and expand.
One of the leading industries of the town of Elsah, and, indeed, of this whole section of the country, is the fishery of Isaac Houpt. This gentleman commenced the business as early as 1866, in a comparatively small way, and has, by attention to it, developed it to an extraordinary dimension. He has some sixty or seventy nets, and two large seines and five fishing boats, which he uses in the business and finds employment for quite a number of hands. All kinds of edible fish, among which are white, black and calico bass, pike, pickerel, catfish, perch, buffalo and red-horse, are gathered from the bosom of the mighty "father of waters" and prepared for the market. Tons of the finny tribe are gathered in and forwarded to St. Louis and other points, and disposed of to the benefit and profit of the enterprising proprietor of this industry, who is the largest and most successful fishery operator in this county, or in fact, in all this region. He is able, honest and industrious, and deserves the good fortune brought about by his ability and enterprise.
Two fine springs of living water are among the attractions of Elsah. One of them is known as Fountain Square Spring. They were noticed at the time of the first settlement of the town, and since then have never, at any time, ceased to flow. Quite a respectable sized stream of water flows from each one, and the water is used by the people of their vicinity in preference to well water.
Other Prominent Citizens
James E. Starr was born in New York, Sept. 21, 1813. When about 16 years of age, he was taken by a maternal uncle to Georgia, as an assistant in a store. He remained with him until Sept. 1833, when, learning of the death of his father, at Alton, Ill., he returned home reaching Alton in November of that year. Here he pursued his vocation as clerk and merchant for several years. In 1843 and 1844 he was employed as clerk on the river in Alton and St. Louis trade, leaving it to take the position of United States Deputy Marshal. In 1845, he took command of a stearmer, and finally quit the river in 1847. In Oct 1846, he was married to Sabra B. Ellis, at Burlington, Iowa. On the opening of the Alton and Sangamon Railroad (now Chicago and Alton) he was appointed general ticket agent of the road, which position he held for several years. On the breaking out of the war, he was residing in Alton with his family, but in the spring of 1862, he moved to Jersey County, where he has since resided. The farm is located on Secs., 21 and 22, T. 6n., R. 11w., and has been largely devoted to horticulture. Mr. Starr was one of the founders of the State Horticultural Society, of which he was at one time president. He was one of the first admitted to membership in the I. O. O. F., Aug. 11, 1836, and has filled the positions of treasurer, secretary, grand master, and grand representative.
Reb. Luther E. Cole, of Elsah was born in Hallsiton, Massachusetts, Oct. 9, 1847. In 1855, he came to the state of Illinois, where he grew to manhood, fitting himself for a ministerial career. He was licensed to preach, May 19, 1881, by the Alton District Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which met at Brighton, Ill., Aug, 31, of the same year. He joined the Southern Illinois Conference, held at Greenville, Bond County, Bishop J. F. Hurst officiating, and was appointed to the Elsah circuit. He was ordained and ordered deacon by Bishop Thomas Bowman, of Belleville, Ill., Sept. 24, 1883. At the session of conference held at Farifield, Ill., Sept. 24, 1884, he was returned to Elsah circuit. At that session the circuits of Elsah, Grafton, and all of the territory in Jersey County lying south of a line from Delhi to Fulton, were united, forming one circuit, of which he was appointed pastor in charge, and which field he at present occupies. Rev. Luther Cole is a man of much zeal and ability and is an earnest and faithful worker in the cause of the Master.
R. C. Chidister, son of William and Amanda (Willbanks) Chidister, was born in Elsah Township, Jersey County, June 19, 1858. William Chidister was born in Licking County, Ohio, Oct. 14, 1818, and died in this county, Feb. 14, 1881. Amanda Chidister was born in Kentucky in Aug., 1843, and died here, Feb. 12, 1883. Both are buried in the Salem Cemetery. The subject of this sketch is the second of a family of six children and resided with his parents until 24 years of age. He then engaged in farming for himself in Elsah Township, where he still lives. He is a Republican in politics.
Abrham Worthey, retired farmer, was born in Franklin County, Ga., Nov. 11, 1818. When about three years of age he left that state, removing with his parents to Smith County, Tenn., where he remained till he was 19 years old. Oct. 20, 1839, he was united in marriage with Sarah (Burchett) Craig. Mr. and Mrs. Worthey have had 17 chidren born to them - Mary Ann, wife of Charles Harland, of Mississippi Township; William H., living in Alton, Ill; John W., married to Lucy Finch, living in Missouri; Sarah, widow of John Connor; Susanna, wife of Aaron Reed, of Elsah Towhship; Martha, wife of George Miers, of Macoupin County, Ill.; Elizabeth, wife of John Reed, also of Macoupin County; Addie, who resides with her sister, Mrs. Miers; Abraham Jr., living on section 6, Elsah Township, married to Mary Dougherty; Julia, wife of William Johnson; Eva, wife of Wesley Johnson, of Elsah Township; James M., Eliza Ann, Thomas B., and Jasper N. are all deceased, and three died in infancy. Mr. Worthey owns a valuable farm of 120 acres, located on Section 6, Elsah Towhship, which is well improved, also residence property in the Village of Elsah, where he now lives. Mr. and Mrs. Worthey are members of the Presbyterian Church. He belongs to the Grafton Lodge of the Masonic fraternity, and to the I. O. O. F., Lodge, No. 369, of Elsah.
Isaac Newton Piggott, was born in "Piggot's Fort," in Monroe County, Ill., in Nov. 1793. His father, Capt. James Piggott, was a native of the state of Connecticut and in early life was a sea-faring man. He is reputed to have been one of the part who blew up a British gunboat just preceding the Revolution. The British Crown offered 500 guineas reward for each of the parties concerned, but failed to capture them. He next appears with a commission, as Captain of a Pennsylvania company of troops, early in the war. He was at Valley Forge, during that memorable winter with Gen. George Rogers Clark was fitting out his western expedition to subdue the great Northwestern Territory. Capt. Piggott tendered his resignation in the Continental Army, giving as reasons therefor, "that his family had then (1778) already gone west, to Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh, Penn., that he wished to join Clark's expedition, and go to the Northwest Territory." In accepting his resignation, Gen. Washington received the same for the reasons there stated. Capt. Piggott came west with the Clark's expedition and shared in the perils and privations incident thereto. He remained for some years at Kaskaskia, where his family soon joined him. He next built fort or block-house, in the American Bottom, in Monroe County, which was known at Piggott's Fort, as a protection for the early settlers against the hostile Indians. He established the first ferry at St. Louis, which is now known as the Wiggins Ferry. He moved to what is now part of East St. Louis, Ill., at his ferry, where he died in Dec. 1799. At the time of his decease, he was presiding Judge of the Court of St. Clair County, Ill., then held in Cahokia, then the county seat of that county. Isaac N. Piggott was left an orphan, at seven years of age. In 1803, his mother remarried and moved across the river, to the territory of Upper Louisiana, and settled in St. Louis County, where Issac N., was principally brought up on a farm. His opportunity for education was very limited. We find him in the War of 1812, for which service, his widow drew a pension until her decease in 1881. In 1821, we find him a Methodist Minister, stationed at the First M. E. Church, in St. Louis. At the western conference of the M. E. Church, held in Oct. 1822, at St. Louis, he was sent to the Mississippi circuit, comprising Pike, Adams, Schuyier, Brown Scott, Greene, and part of Morgan Counties, Ill. In Dec., 1822, he moved with his family to Greene County, and settled near Woodville, northwest of Kane, from whence he went around a four week's circuit on horse-back, going northwest as far as Quincy. The settlements at that early day were sparse and far between, no bridges, very dim roads, but early settlers were proverbial for their hospitality to all, and especially to the early itinerant preacher. He virtually established Methodism in this district, being the first itinerant minister regularly sent to this part of the state. He was ordained a deacon by Bishop McKendree at the St. Louis conference, and was afterwards ordained by Bishop R. R. Roberts, at Padfield, in St. Clair County, ILl, in 1824, as evidenced by the parchments signed by the bishop, and now in the hands of one of his daughters, Mary J. Brock of Jerseyville, Ill. About the year 1825, from failing health, Isaac N. Piggott located from the itinerancy and sought other occupation. He remained a member of the M. E. Church until his decease, in 1874. He was the first postmaster in the limits of Jersey County, the office being a Eminence. He afterwards had the postoffice removed to Newbern, where he was again postmaster. He removed from Jersey County to St. Louis, Mo., in 1859, where he died Feb. 11, 1874, in his 81st year. He was a fine conversationalist, a fluent speaker, a versatilie writher, and a man well posted on almost any subect. He could apparently turn his attention equally well to theology, medicine or the law, being proficient in each.
Hiram T. Keyser was born in the state of Kentucky, on the 24th day of December, in the year of 1826. He lived with his parents until he was 20 years old. In 1852, he came to Illinois, stopping at Alton, where he stayed four years, working at his trade, which is that of brick and stone mason and plasterer. In the year 1856, he came to Elsah, and has lived there or in that vicinity up the the present time. On the 5th day of September, in the year 1855, he was married to Mary Ann Myers, daughter of Samuel Myers. They have had five children, namely; John H., Charles H., Mary Elizabeth, Victor and Harry. Mr. Keyser has served as trustee of the village of Elsah for four years. He still continues at his trade which he has been working at nearly 40 years. Himself and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he is a democrat.
William G. Onetto, blacksmith and engineer, came to Jersey County in 1836, and for a time follwed various occupations to gain a livelihood. In 1853, he moved to the Village of Elsah where he now resides, and which then contained but three houses. He was born April 8, 1825, and married in 1843 to Mary Ann Massey, daughter of William nad Magdeline (Metz) Massey. She was born in St. Louis and died in 1870. They had two children; Elizabeth and Anthony, both of whom died in infancy. Mr. Onetto was again married to Mrs. Sinclair, widow of William Sinclair. He is a member of Masonic fraternity, the I. O. O. F., and the Knights of Pythias. He is a democrat politically, and with his wife, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Elsah. Mr. Onetto is one of the earliest settlers of the village of Elsah, and a highly esteemed citizen.
Leander C. Carrico, a cooper in Elsah, was born on the 10th day of October in the year 1848, near Kane, Greene County, Ill. He lived with his parents until he was nearly 16 years old, when he enllisted in the Co. D. 1st Reg., Missouri Cavalry Volunteers. He went into service on the 22nd day of July 1864, and was mustered out at Benton Barracks, Mo., on the 18th of September 1865. He participated in the following battles or skirmishes; At Mound Elba, Ark., and at Mt. Elba Ferry and Princeton, and the second assult at Pine Bluff and Brownville. On the 3rd day of Feb., in the year of 1869, he was married to Annie Reynolds. One child was born tho them, Ledora C., born on the 9th of Dec. 1869. She is living with her grandparents at Shipman, Ill. On the 1st of Aug. 1878, Mr. Carrico was married again to Mrs. Mary M. Davis, widow of Haston Davis. They have had two children: Mary E., born June 20, 1880, died Aug. 14, 1880; and HOrace G., born Dec. 26, 1881. Mr. Carrico has been in 17 different states and territories, seeing a great deal of the country. He belongs to the Baptist Church, is a member of Rutherford Post, No. 206, G. A. R., of which he is now commander, and has been officer of the day two terms previous to this. His parents were both natives of Illinois, but were of French and English descent. Her parents were of French descent. His father, Thomas C. Carrico, was born Dec. 21, 1825, in Greene County, Ill. He enlisted at Virden in Co. G. 122d, Ill. Inft., on the 13th of Aug., 1862. He died in the hospital of Corinth, Miss., on the 14th of March, 1863, and was brought home to Virden, where he was buried. His mother is still living and is now the wife of Daniel Bettis, and resides in this county.
The post office at Elsah was established in 1852, and James Semple commissioned postmaster. The present incumbent is James Francis. Prior to this time, however, and about the year 1830, a post office was established at a place called Eminence, two miles below Elsah. Newton Piggott was the postmater.
Elsah was organized and incorporated as as village in 1872. The following were the first officers: William P. Warren, President; W. A. McNair, Clerk; J. R. Whipple, Christ. Loehr, Issac Newton Piggott, and Thomas Hanssel, Trustees. The present officers are the following named gentlemen: George F. Lane, President; W. B. Starr, Clerk; T. F. Hansel, Treasurer; James Fuller, Street Commissioner; William Tonkinson, Constable; W. P. Warren, X. Schneider, J. G. Brown, R. B. Leak, and E. M. Pinney, Trustees.
Elsah Public School
The present school building was erected in the year 1857 by the late Gen. James Semple, who was a great friend of education. The bulding is a large stone structure, two stories high, and is 24x36 feet. The cost at that time was $2,833. After the district was formed the building was purchased from Gen. Semple by the board of directors. The present teachers are Miss Minnie E. Lane, Principal, and Miss Rosa V. Stroud, in the lower department. The school is considered to be in a flourishing continue and with the present board of education will so continue.
Notch Cliff cornet band was orgainzed in 1879 with the following members; Jacob Spatz, Eb clarionet; Jacob C. Reintges, solo cornet; Edward Reed, Bb; J. B. Reintges, first alto; J. Dean, second alto; William Besterfeldt, baritone; Edward Besterfeldt, Eb tuba; H. Howard, bass drum; Cosmos Keller, snare drum. The first president of the organization was William Besterfeldt.
A town hall for public meetings of all kinds was erected in 1884, and is now owned by Dr. B. F. Farley. It is a one-story frame structure, 30x50 feet in dimensions, and was completed at a cost of about $1,000.
Elsah Roller Mills
This flouring institution was construced in 1878 by McAdams and Bleyler and is 40x80 feet in ground area, three stories and a half high, with an engine room 30x35 feet in size. The machinery and fixtures were removed from Newbern, the engine being 50 horse power. The above named firm ran the mill about one year, when it was purchased by Enos J. Doron, in Feb., 1879, who still owns and operates the same successfully. When the mill was first erected it was a buhr affair, but in the fall of 1883, it was remodeled by Mr. Doron to the roller system. The mill has a capacity of 200 barrels of flour per day, and is so situated that its shipping advantages are unsurpassed either by rail or water. It is in good repair and is valued at $30,000. The mill proper was originally erected for an elevator and warehouse in 1861, by a man named Pergram, of St. Louis, who was among the principal grain dealers of that city, at that time, and was provided with all the requirements of a first-class warehouse.
Enos. T. Doron, the proprietor of the Elsah Roller Mills, Jersey County, Ill., was born near the city of Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania, Sept. 17, 1830. His early life was spent in his native state. In 1848, he engaged as clerk in a wholesale hosiery establishment in Philadelphia, and in 1858, became a partner in the same firm. He continued there in business until Jan. 1, 1871, when he retired from mercantile life. In 1879, he came to the Village of Elsah and purchased the flouring mill, which in 1882, he remodeled, and added new machinery, increasing its capacity to 200 barrels per day. Mr. Doron was united in marriage, Feb. 8, 1859, with Huldah H. Bedell, of Rochester, N. Y. They had two children, Charlie B., born May 28, 1860 and John B., born June 30, 1864. The latter died April 23, 1866. Mrs. Doron died in Germantown, Penn., May 20, 1873. Mr. Doron is a republican in politics, and an upright and worthy citizen as well as an enterprising busines man.
Elsah Lodge, No. 269, I. O. O. F., was instituted in 1859. Among the charter members were John H. Onetto, Addison Greene, Jacob Lurton. The lodge has had a properous existence, and is well fixed financially. They own the building in which their hall is situated and rent a portion to the K. of P. and G. A. R. societies. The membership is aobut 40. Being the first lodge in the south end of the county, it has been a mother lodge, three other lodges having drawn membership from her.
Black Cross Lodge, No. 106, K. of P., was instituted June 13, 1882, with 17 charter members. The following were the first officers of the lodge: Thomas F. Hansel, P. C.; William H. Bleyler, C. C.; Wiliam G. Onetto, V. C.; Jacob Kesler, P.; X. Schneider, M. of E.; Nathaniel Greene, M. of F.; Fred W. White, M. at A.; Tony A. Brock, K. of R. and S.; John N. Warren, I. G.; Jacob C. Reinges, O. G.; Those serving the lodge at present in an officail position are Nathaniel Greene, P. C.; Charles B. Doron, C. C.; Edward M. Pinney, V. C.; X. Schneider, P.; C. Loehr, M. of E.; A. H. Stephany, M. of F.; John N. Warren, M. at A.; Fred W. White, K. of R. and S.; Cosmos Keller, I. G.; William G. Onetto, O. G. The present membership numbers 22,, The lodge, though small in number has been active and interesting since its institution to all connected with it
Rutherford Post, No. 206, G. A. R., was organized April 11, 1883, by John G. Mack. The first officers of the post were as follows: E. M. Pinney, C.; B. F. Slaten, S. V. C.; Lewis Keller, J. V. C.; William H. McDow, Q. M.; Wiliam Marshaw, Chap.; L. C. Carrico, O. D.; N. Hartley, O. G.; J. K. Francis, Adjt.; Adam Lightner, Q. S,; Myron Hansell, Surg. The membership at present number is 62. The post rents the hall of the I. O. O. F. fraternity in which to hold their meetings. The present officers of the society are L. C. Carrico, C.; J. A. Chappee, S. V. C.; Lewis Keller, J. V. C.; E. M. Pinney, Q. M.; W. D. Collins, O. D.; J. A Dabbs, O. G.; Perry Spangle, Chap.; P. W. Dougherty, Adjt., I. M. Free, Surg.; T. A. Palmer, Q. S. The charter members of the organization were E. M. Pinney, Lewis Keller, A. F. Swan, Adam Lightner, W. D. Collins, Terry Spangle, B. F. Slaten, L. C. Carrico, W. H. McDow, William Burgess, William Deymond, Myron Hansel, P. W. Dougherty, J. K. Francis, William Marshaw, George Piggott, N. Hartley, William Gillham.
Source[History of Greene and Jersey Counties, Illinois, 1885 - Compiled by The Continental Historical Company, Springfield, Illinois, December 1885 - Pages 257 - 274]